Our world in 2020 is choke so full of stress inducing news and circumstances, that we all would have a hard time picking just one. I will not dive into that now! Even with all the bad news, debt remains a constant source of raised blood pressure for many people. According to this study by Morning Consult, student loan worries top all other debt concerns. A higher percent of those questions where more stressed out about student loans than credit card debts, car loans or mortgage loans. The question is at hand. How do we overcome student loan related stress?
Here are 4 steps to help overcome the stress of student loans:
Step 1: Find Out Where You Are
Stress can gain momentum in our lives very quickly and soon we are caught in a never-ending loop. Sleep patterns and appetite can be affected negatively. Health and happiness are affected adversely by stress. Since we do not want that the natural human reaction is to ignore it. We become the ostrich. With our heads in the sand, we are not so worried. Unopened mail or kicking that can down the road are natural reactions. Start to pull your head out of the ground by making a list. First make a list of your student loans. Write down who you owe. How much do you owe? What is the monthly payment? When is the due date? What is the interest rate? How much of your payment is interest and how much is principle? This simple exercise can break the paralysis. It lets you know where you are so that you can take the next step. Momentum is real!
Step 2: Take Stock of What You Got
List all your monthly expenses. Your student loan debts do not exist in a vacuum. Use broad categories to list expenses such as rent, utilities, food, and insurances and so on. I will not bore you with more scribble about budgeting. But that does not change the fact that you must know what is coming in and what is going out to find out what you can do about student loans. No back talk! Do it!
Step 3: List What You Can Do
Decide to be your own leader and you will reap the rewards. Freeze your expenses…at least for now. Ever heard anyone say, “You spend what you make.” I have! In fact, I have heard it too much for my liking. Do not get me wrong, it is true. I surely spend much more now then when I first got out of college and was released upon the world. As income grows, we just tend to use it. But it does not need to be that way. Decide to control your money and not the other way around. Look at your list and separate your needs from your wants. Decide to make these decisions. Do not add any wants to your list. Pair down your wants where you are able. Take control by paying attention to your money with a once a week review. Pick the place and time to do your reviews. Make your own decisions so that you can get the most out of your money. Build confidence and you will erase stress!
Step 4: Find out Why Student Loan Debt is Causing You Stress
Is it because of a very tight budget? Maybe. I think the biggest reason student loans produce stress is because they are so darn complex. For example, there are subsidized and unsubsidized loans, standard repayment and income-based repayment. Let us not forget about deferments and forbearance and consolidation versus staying put, it can all seem very daunting. Ever have the feeling after making a purchase that you did not get a good deal and it just nags at you. Student loans are like that. People worry that they do not have the best interest rate. Or they worry that they do not have the optimal payment. Or they worry they are missing out on a better deal than they currently have. You thought your education was over! Go here. Learn about your repayment options. You can even compare your repayment options so that you are choosing the best option for you. Also, understand these options are not permanent. You can change your repayment options as your circumstances improve.
Student loan stress is not unusual. You are not alone. Still feeling that stress? Help is available to help you manage the stress of student loans.